PTSD childhood trauma, resulting from sexual abuse, domestic violence, rape school shooting suicide

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD, it's not just for VETERANS

As a human being, there are always risks that put your life in danger. Most people are lucky enough to avoid these dangers and live a nice and safe life. But in some cases, you may experience a tragedy, act of violence, chronic abuse or a life trauma – either physically or emotionally – and this can cause an anxiety problem known as post-traumatic stress disorder.

As the name implies, PTSD is an anxiety disorder that comes after the traumatic event has occurred. Those living with PTSD often must get outside help, because PTSD can affect people for years after the event occurs. I developed PTSD in 2011, got treatment and joy working with others through their process. 

PTSD affects people both psychologically and physically. In most cases, the person with PTSD is the one that experienced the traumatic event, but it's possible to get PTSD by simply witnessing an event or injury, or even simply discovering that someone close to you dealt with a traumatic event.

Symptoms include:

  • Reliving the Trauma The most well-known symptom of PTSD is reliving the trauma. Those with PTSD often relive the trauma not only emotionally – in some cases, they may relive the trauma mentally and physically, as though transported back to the event.
  • Responding to Triggers Those with PTSD may (in some cases) have triggers that cause intense stress or fear. These triggers are often related to the event, such as loud noises when the event involved loud noises or intense fear when someone is behind you if you were attacked from behind. It also may be triggered by thoughts of the event.
  • Anxiety Over Recurrence Like with panic attacks, you may also have PTSD if you have developed severe anxiety over the event occurring again. If you experience regular, daily anxiety over the idea of a repeat of the event, it may also be PTSD.
  • Emotional Trouble Many of those with PTSD also experience issues with their emotional thinking and future. Some feel a disinterest or detachment from love. Others become emotionally numb. Others become convinced they're destined to die. Any and all of these emotional struggles may be common in those with PTSD.

You may also experience severe "what if" scenarios everywhere you go, including disaster thinking or feeling helpless/hopeless in public situations. Many of those with PTSD also experience avoidance behaviors of events, things, and even people that may remind them of the event – even if there is no link between these issues and the trauma.

Those with post-traumatic stress disorder may be at a greater baseline of stress on most days. They may be short-tempered or easy to anger. They may be startled/frightened easily or be unable to sleep. PTSD can be a difficult problem to live with.

From the Expert

Jessica Gaffney is the author of Every Last Breath, a PTSD novel. She is a PTSD expert serving south Florida community using EMDR therapy, CBT and helps individuals, professionals, schools and families understand, adjust and support the impacts of trauma.